[Fwd: Fireball over Oregon]

Mark A. Hanning-Lee (mhanning-lee@syagen.com)
Thu, 02 Sep 1999 15:15:22 -0700

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Reposted from sci.astro.amateur.

Maybe Toby saw the reentry of the Raduga 104 aux motor ...

Best, Mark

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From: bburton@usgs.gov (William C. Burton)
Subject: Fireball over Oregon
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Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 19:12:02 GMT
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Just received this eyewitness report of a fireball seen from Oakland, OR
last night.  Anyone else see it?

To: "William C. Burton" <bburton@usgs.gov>
From: Toby Hemenway <hemenway@jeffnet.org>
Subject: Look, up in the sky!

Dear Bill: Last night Carolyn and I were sitting on our back deck talking
and  watching the Milky Way grow bright. We saw 2 or 3 meteors in a short
time, about as many as I'd seen in this year's Perseids. Suddenly Carolyn
called out, "Toby, look at that!" and pointed to the southwest. Low in the
sky a meteor was slowly arcing eastward. It was big and slow, leaving a
streak several times broader than any of the night's others. And it just
kept going, leaving a tail a degree or two long. As I watched, stunned that
it was still visible, I could see a second smaller body in the tail moving
at the same speed. Then it arced lower and turned flame yellow, increasing
in size, almost seeming to spit off sparks. I could easily discern a
spherical mass; it was enormous!  It traversed the entire sky, taking 20 or
30 seconds as I danced excitedly on the deck watching.When it neared the
eastern horizon,the yellow ball split in two, both bodies moving in
parallel. Somehow I kept expecting one piece to drop away, but Newton
doesn't work that way, I realized, and they kept moving together, followed
by the original fragment in the tail. Finally the whole incredible show
disappeared slowly into the light of Roseburg on the horizon, and I knew
I'd seen something I'd remember all my life.
  This is what email's for, isn't it?

still awestruck,
William C. Burton
Mailstop 926A, U.S.G.S.
Reston, VA 20192